Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

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paisa_sandia
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:21 pm

Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby paisa_sandia » Mon May 15, 2017 4:49 pm

0L here, looking to rake in folks' insights on good public interest-oriented organizations to potentially spend the 1L summer with. I'm being intentionally broad here--both regarding the type of public interest work as well as the type of organization--because I imagine this thread could be useful for lots of different students. That said, I'd be interested in hearing about everything from fed work to small nonprofits to public private interest firms--be inventive.

Obviously, most employment opportunities of this nature are unpaid, so any thoughts or resources regarding funding opportunities would be incredibly helpful as well.

N0 L1M1T5. Thanks!

Civilservant
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby Civilservant » Mon May 15, 2017 7:26 pm

I think it is important to narrow down your interest, and then targeting specific areas. There are divisions like civil and criminal, so a public defender agency versus say foreclosure defense or something of a more civil nature. Then there is more client oriented practices as oppose to impact litigation. There are organizations where you may represent 50 different people getting evicted, and there are others that may focus on one lawsuit that effects thousands of people being discriminated against. Then there are organizations that may lobby or advocate through policy and not direct representation.

All of these different organizations provide good experience. Sites such idealist have a good database of organizations, your law school might have contacts at local organizations for pro bono purposes. Don't give up on getting something paid, there are plenty of public interest internships that at least offer a reasonable stipend.

tomwatts
Posts: 1686
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby tomwatts » Mon May 15, 2017 9:05 pm

Yeah, this question is waaaaaaaay too broad. There are probably literally thousands of possible answers. You need to narrow down at least two of geographic location, type of work, and subject matter at least to some reasonable extent before a meaningful answer can be given. Someone could give a meaningful answer to "environmental public interest work on the West Coast" or "litigation-heavy consumer protection work" or "policy-oriented criminal justice work" or maybe even "litigation-heavy public interest work in New York City," but not just "public interest" overall.

lillawyer2
Posts: 750
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:43 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby lillawyer2 » Tue May 16, 2017 11:22 am

paisa_sandia wrote:0L here, looking to rake in folks' insights on good public interest-oriented organizations to potentially spend the 1L summer with. I'm being intentionally broad here--both regarding the type of public interest work as well as the type of organization--because I imagine this thread could be useful for lots of different students. That said, I'd be interested in hearing about everything from fed work to small nonprofits to public private interest firms--be inventive.

Obviously, most employment opportunities of this nature are unpaid, so any thoughts or resources regarding funding opportunities would be incredibly helpful as well.

N0 L1M1T5. Thanks!



I love you for making this thread

lillawyer2
Posts: 750
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:43 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby lillawyer2 » Tue May 16, 2017 11:27 am

tomwatts wrote:Yeah, this question is waaaaaaaay too broad. There are probably literally thousands of possible answers. You need to narrow down at least two of geographic location, type of work, and subject matter at least to some reasonable extent before a meaningful answer can be given. Someone could give a meaningful answer to "environmental public interest work on the West Coast" or "litigation-heavy consumer protection work" or "policy-oriented criminal justice work" or maybe even "litigation-heavy public interest work in New York City," but not just "public interest" overall.


1. NYC
2. Impoverished population within the 5 boroughs
3. Food/Quality

-there is a great need for healthy foods at affordable prices in impoverished/low income neighborhoods in the city. how does legal fit in?
Hit me!

cavalier1138
Posts: 4312
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue May 16, 2017 11:42 am

lillawyer2 wrote:1. NYC
2. Impoverished population within the 5 boroughs
3. Food/Quality

-there is a great need for healthy foods at affordable prices in impoverished/low income neighborhoods in the city. how does legal fit in?
Hit me!


It doesn't?

I mean, I'm sure there's a need for basic legal representation at food banks, but you aren't going to find one that needs an intern. I guess you could also more broadly look at policy work in the federal agencies that deal with food and agriculture, but those are policy positions.

Civilservant
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby Civilservant » Wed May 17, 2017 7:31 am

lillawyer2 wrote:
tomwatts wrote:Yeah, this question is waaaaaaaay too broad. There are probably literally thousands of possible answers. You need to narrow down at least two of geographic location, type of work, and subject matter at least to some reasonable extent before a meaningful answer can be given. Someone could give a meaningful answer to "environmental public interest work on the West Coast" or "litigation-heavy consumer protection work" or "policy-oriented criminal justice work" or maybe even "litigation-heavy public interest work in New York City," but not just "public interest" overall.


1. NYC
2. Impoverished population within the 5 boroughs
3. Food/Quality

-there is a great need for healthy foods at affordable prices in impoverished/low income neighborhoods in the city. how does legal fit in?
Hit me!


This is a grant writing need not a legal need. A good way to approach whether something fits a legal need is if there a potential legal conflict that can arise that either needs to be litigated or protected against contractually.

tomwatts
Posts: 1686
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby tomwatts » Wed May 17, 2017 2:13 pm

There are probably people in local government doing something along the lines of urban planning that look at that issue as well. But that's also more of a policy position. It is possible to use a law degree to get into policy, though you have to be aware that that's what you're doing.

I know that food law is a thing, and I think there are public interest organizations doing food law, but I'm not sure if they are in NYC specifically. They might be in DC or something.

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tncats
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:20 am

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby tncats » Wed May 17, 2017 2:20 pm

Helping people who have their SNAP benefits reduced or terminated?

albanach
Posts: 1232
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby albanach » Wed May 17, 2017 3:17 pm

I agree, this is too broad to be helpful.

Your 1L summer will be more rewarding if you're doing something that interests you. For PI it will be even better if you support the cause you are working for.

As others have said, there's criminal prosecution v. defense - if you pick one, it might be harder to find employment with the other later.

For other public interest fields, the variety is endless. There's Government, big and local. There's ConLaw, Civil Rights, Housing, Immigration, War Crimes, Employment, Animals, Plants, Sealife, Religion, Sports. The list goes on and on.

Frankly, if you want to do something 1L summer that's unpaid, your imagination should be the only limit. If your BigLaw focused in the longer term, almost anything you choose will give you stuff to talk about at OCI. If you're thinking Public Interest after graduation, you should be thinking now about what your future lawyer self will look like and pick something that starts you on the trajectory, through experience, networking or both.

arose928
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:05 am

Re: Public Interest Employment for 1L Summer

Postby arose928 » Sat May 20, 2017 1:35 am

Rather than thinking about what organization you want to work for, think about what TYPE of work you want to do. Do you want to work with clients? Do you want to focus on research/writing? Do you want to do policy work? Do you want to do legal services? Do you want to do impact litigation? Do you want to focus on a specific practice area (i.e. housing) or be exposed to several different areas? (i.e. housing, immigration, benefits) Without knowing those kinds of things, just having a list of organizations is going to be meaningless. Especially on a national level. A better way to go about this would be to figure out what kind of experience you're looking to have and then talk to the career development office at your school and they can give you some local organizations to look into. For instance, I knew that I didn't want to just sit in an office writing all day and I wanted to work with people. I worked in a public defender's office, where I got the variety of experiences and fast pace I was looking for. But maybe you hate people, so that wouldn't be a good fit for you. Who knows.




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